Sole Alberta shooting survivor makes first public appearance
Published Saturday, September 8, 2012 10:13PM EDT
Hundreds of Alberta residents turned out Saturday to help raise funds for, and to meet, the sole survivor of an armed robbery and shooting at the University of Alberta.
Cpl. Matthew Schuman attended the barbecue fundraiser held in his honour at CFB Edmonton.
For many at the event, the chance to see Schuman walking, talking and holding his young son was a blessing.
“Matt is doing phenomenal. You know it’s been a miracle that he’s still here with us,” said Platoon Chief James Buckley.
Schuman, a firefighter at the base, was injured after being shot in the head on June 15 during an armed robbery on campus.
Schuman was working part-time as a guard for the G4S security company at the time of the incident.
All three of Schuman’s co-workers who were with him during the robbery were killed in the shooting.
Travis Baumgartner, 21, was arrested at the Aldergrove, B.C. border crossing on June 16 in connection with the incident. He was found with nearly $330,000 in his possession.
Baumgartner faces three first-degree murder charges and one attempted murder charge.
On Saturday, Schuman’s friends, family and colleagues gathered to honour the recovering firefighter.
Funds raised from the event went to Schuman and his family to help with his recovery process.
Following the deadly shooting, Schuman underwent surgery to have the bullet removed from his head. He’s also gone through an intensive rehabilitation program.
Schuman’s colleagues wanted to organize the fundraiser for him, to let him know he’s not alone.
“He’s a crewmate of mine. The firefighters wanted to put together a really good fundraising event for him and his family,” said organizer Mike Yorkston.
“Everybody here has volunteered their time so it’s an honour to have the community come out and support Matt.”
While Schuman still has a ways to go in terms of recovery, Yorkston said he believes the firefighter and his family will succeed.
“He’s going to have disabilities because of the injury but the Schuman family, they’re very strong-willed,” he said.
The barbecue featured a silent auction, a display of classic cars and military vehicle tours.
Many who attended the fundraiser said that while they didn’t know Schuman personally, he is an inspiration to them.
“It’s a tough situation, but he’s handling it with a lot of class and doing great, so it’s very exciting,” said fundraiser attendee Graham Aberg.
"A guy like Matt is the type of guy I'd like to hang out with, because he's definitely a strong-willed individual," said attendee Jason Mitchell.
Anyone who would like to donate funds to the Schuman family can do so online or at any TD Canada Trust branch. Donations should be made to the following account: “In Trust for Matt Schuman” - # 27522 6347249.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson